The Lifetime Channel, as you all may know,Â is an American television channel that is made specifically for women. According to their website it is “the source for women’s entertainment.” This channel has reality shows such as Supernanny, Dance Moms, Project Runway and the feel good show America’s Most Wanted. It has re-runs of sitcoms such asÂ How I Met Your Mother (SUIT UP!),Â and Reba. These are all fun and well, but what truly defines and separates this channel from the celluloid crowd is its Lifetime Original Movies.
These movies, in general, are about women in peril. They get kidnapped, stalked, abused, conned, brutalized, and occasionally murdered after all of the above. Yes, at the end of the story they are often triumphant, at times posthumously, but regardless the constant theme of these movies is bad things happening to women. Don’t get me wrong, these can be fun movies. They’re great to watch when you’re with your girlfriends, have each had a bottle of cheap wine, and are cheering on the wronged female protagonist as she conquers the odds. I have to wonder, though, is this really what I consider to be the best entertainment for women?
Before I continue I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to bash Lifetime. I’m simply saying that if I were running it, things would be a little different. So, here it is my little friends:
IF I RAN THE LIFETIME CHANNEL
1). Daily morning marathons of Xena: Warrior Princess and Battlestar Galactica. These are two shows that showcase intelligent, capable, and downright badass women. What better way to start off the day than see Xena kicking some ancient derriere, or Starbuck busting some balls? I firmly believe this is a healthy way to begin one’s daily routine.
2). Follow with Absolutely Fabulous. Â After starting off the day with some badass women, we will then transition to women who are selfish, despicable, hedonistic, and utterly hilarious (hey, it’s better than women who are constantly being victimized). If you have not yet watched this show, you need to immediately. It’s bloody brilliant and will make you feel sophisticated and fabulous.
3). Replace Supernanny and Dance Moms with Income Property and The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie. I don’t particularly care for reality tv, but I make an exception for home improvement shows. Unlike Dance Moms, home improvement shows are useful and don’t make me want to punch the television. One show I think would be a good fit with Lifetime is Income Property. It’s about a man named Scott McGillivray who helps people convert and improve parts of their houses so that they may rent them out. It’s a very helpful and useful show full of gems of information.
By the way, this is Scott McGillivray:
He fixes things. With sleeveless shirts.
The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie is another fine show where the host, Jamie Durie, redesigns and rebuilds people’s backyards. If you are interested in the fine art of horticulture and repurposing your backyard, I think you would find this program most helpful.
This is Jamie Durie. He grows and fixes things. With an Australian accent.
With both of these shows, we have covered the how-to’s with indoor and outdoor spaces. In order to feel empowered as women, it’s important to be educated on the simple art of home improvement on a daily basis.
4). Keep How I Met Your Mother and add Buffy the Vampire Slayer. HIMYM is a delightful show that talks about the trials and tribulations of dating and is very funny. It also has Neil Patrick Harris. So, it can stay. Buffy is another great show with a girl who kicks butt and has a sharp tongue. I think it’s important that the younger female demographic has a character they can relate and look up to and Buffy is perfect for this. Also, it would be a crime to have a female-centric channel and not showcase the work of Joss Whedon.
5). Alien and Aliens will be shown weekly. Ellen Ripley is one of the biggest and baddest fictional characters ever. She also utters one of the greatest lines in movie history:
I think we could all learn a little something from watching Ripley take on one of the scariest monsters in movie history. She also manages to look sexy with no make up and masculine clothing. It’s important for us ladies to be reminded that we don’t have to be dolled up like Â Victoria’s Secret models to look sexy and feel empowered, a la Ripley. I’ve always had a special admiration for this character, which is rather cosmic because my mom almost named me Ripley in her honor. Yes, my friends, I could have been Ripley B. Aliens also features another amazing female character, Vasquez, who has the second greatest line in the movie.
6). Ugly Betty will be shown daily. To this day I am pissed that Ugly Betty isn’t on anymore. It was clever, hilarious, and I think a very positive show. Betty’s character is smart, endearing, and tenacious. I’m also a little in love with America Ferrera, so I am a bit biased. Also, if fashion is your thing, then this would fill your fashion fix.
7). A weekly show that talks about amazing women in history Â hosted by Angela Bassett. If I were the Lifetime overlord, I would make this show happen and I would Â make Angela Bassett host it. Each week different important women from history are featured. Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Sacajawea,Â Marie Curie, and Margaret Mead are just few of the wonderful women that would be featured in this show. The series would explain how these women have contributed to modern day society and why they should not be forgotten.
8). Nightly marathons of Spartacus and 300.Â It is important to keep up with one’s history, especially ancient history and the important contributions that these events have. A wonderful way to do this is watching historical dramas, even if they are more fiction than fact and have stylized violence.
Hey. If Spike TV can have shows with girls in bikinis talking about cars and “Manswers”, then we can have lovely historical dramas with painfully good looking men with six packs fighting in Speedos. For the ladies out there who don’t play for that team, Spartacus and 300 also have some fine looking chicas.
See? Everybody’s happy.
9). Golden Girls and Living Single will be shown daily. These were great shows that were funny, sweet, and addressed issues that come up in daily life. Also, the formula: Snarky Lady + Endearing Ditz + Fabulous Slut + Friendship = Fun fun entertainment. By the way, when I say “slut” I do not mean it in a demeaning fashion at all. Regine and Blanche are awesome and full of class.
10). A movie night featuring movies by women. There are so many incredible women directors and writers out there, so I think it’s important that their work is featured and recognized. Just to name a few, Kathryn Bigelow, Diablo Cody, Elvira Notari,Â RakhshÄn Bani-E’temÄd, andÂ Alice Guy-BlachÃ© have each played a part in the film industry. Alice Guy-BlachÃ© is considered to be the one of the first directors of fictional film and I don’t think enough people acknowledge that.
11). Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth Night. Does this really need an explanation?
Last, but not least…
12). NEW LIFETIME ORIGINAL MOVIES. OK, I’m pulling out the big guns here. NO MORE ORIGINAL MOVIES ABOUT WOMEN BEING VICTIMIZED. Some of the plots of those movies are ridiculous. There’s one where the main character gets kidnapped, falls in love with her kidnapper, and then they live happily ever after. I’m not joking. It happened. Seriously.
I’m not saying that we should ignore the injustices that happen to women. There are very important issues concerning violence towards women that do need to be addressed and recognized. I’m just saying that every damn movie that’s made shouldn’t involve women being victims! I swear, the movies ought to be called Different Ways to Terrorize Women. The announcer can say, “This week, we see a woman being poisoned with dish soap by her cheating husband in between bouts of him beating her with an 80’s telephone. Stay tuned for previews for next week’s movie, which features a divorced woman being stalked by her ex-husband and murdering her current boyfriends, by beating them to death with an 80’s telephone.”
When I say these things, I’m not addressing the movies based on true stories, I am only addressing the ones that are pure fiction and meant for entertainment. Another movie I saw involved the main character being being drugged daily by her husband to induce amnesia, because it turns out her “husband” kidnapped her and she actually already had a family. WHAT?!?
What will these new movies be about, you ask? How about this, for a change: Original movies based on strong women. Crazy idea, right? Instead of watching women cheated on by their philandering husbands, we can see Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s activism, or Sarojini Naidu work with Ghandi and become the first woman president of the Indian National Congress. When they’re fictional, they ought to have female characters that make the audience proud and hopeful, not filled with sympathy. These movies should address sexism, racism, and classism because these are very important issues. I know that sounds dry and academic, but it’s the world we live in. By the way, Battlestar Galactica addresses all these issues, so don’t think discussing these issues will automatically make a show or movie unwatchable.
These movies will be hosted by Michelle RodriguezÂ because yet again, I would be the Lifetime overlord and I my will shall be done.
And remember, ladies:
There you have it. Here are the minor and subtle changes I would make if I ran the Lifetime Channel. Have any suggestions if you were the Lifetime overlord? Leave a comment!
Follow Gizzy B on Twitter @PetraGiselleÂ